Tag Archives: 感想

My 2018

I’ve been lived in 2019 for almost 24 hours, but so procrastinated to sum my past year up and prepare myself for a new year.  So here I just briefly list what’s significant for me in 2018.

(after spending 5 minutes to clear the screen of my laptop)

  1. Keep mental health in the increasingly stressful academia. Don’t get me wrong, I am not talking about the lab I am working in, we enjoy the relaxed and freedom in our lab. But this intellectual environment cannot stop the chronic stress of academia penetrate into your life. The stress comes when it seems that all your peers published great papers but you don’t; when the future employers seem to only care about the impact factor of the journals you published and the number of your papers but you seem to unqualified, both in terms of quality and quantity. There are many statistics showing that there are more qualified people but few positions for them, young people on the social media also showed anxiety about their future. I can hardly be an exception. Nevertheless, I am still mentally healthy (also physically healthy, not gaining weight).
  2. Survived in a foreign culture. Culture matters. I can feel that some compatriots are really suffered emotionally because we are relatively isolated. As a Chinese adult, or East Asian more broadly, it is extremely difficult to have a comfortable friendship. By comfortable, I mean you don’t need to play really hard to maintain the relationship. The difficulty lies not in the characters of people, there are very nice people around. But it lies in the way to interact with people in a different culture. This problem becomes worse for a guy not so social and talkative as me. Even in China, I only have a few friends who were accumulated in years. So here it is even more difficult for me to get new friends, still, I am able to keep fit and optimism. That’s an achievement! I should thank my girlfriend, who makes me feel home, even when she is in Amsterdam.
  3. Feel much better for new projects. I come to the current lab from a different background (Thanks to my supervisor’s open mind). So in the beginning, I felt that everything is new to me. After about one year’s learning, I finally start to “do” something, instead of just learning. I felt that the new things I’ve learned in the past year are as many as half of what I’ve learned during my Ph.D.  I also found that learning new methods, paradigms are so interesting: it seems that you have new lens through which you see new things of the world.
  4. The unfinished projects during my Ph.D … are still not finished in the last year. My experiments during my Ph.D are still not published, though the data and results have been there for more than two years. That’s one aspect that I really don’t like academia: you have to wait years to make your research public. I always wonder: does the slow process of the “publication” mean that the experiments I’ve finished are actually not so important? Otherwise, why other groups haven’t done similar experiments and publish their results? Of course, it will be worse if the other groups indeed published similar results, but this makes me really doubt the value of what I have done. If it is only for making the publication list of my CV longer, then why should I do those meaningless kinds of stuff?
  5.  I am proud that I am still promoting open science. It becomes quite clear to me that many published papers are meanless and will never advance human knowledge (actually they can be worse because they are misleading and confusing, keep consuming more time, money and efforts of young graduates). So getting more people to know about the open science may actually be more valuable than publish some craps. In 2018, I published three papers related to this, the 1st introduced Bayes factor to Chinese colleagues, the 2nd reports the how psychological students and researchers misunderstand p-value and confidence intervals, the most widely used statistical index; the 3rd commented on the importance of open science to the legal system. Also, together with other colleagues and friends in China, we finished two more Chinese papers on open science, one introduced the reporting standard of meta-analysis, the other introduced how to calculate and report confidence intervals of effect size. These two papers mean something to me because they indicate more junior colleagues are jumping in the open science movement, I won’t feel alone.

Maybe, one most important changes for me in 2018 is about the future direction of my research and where we will live in the future (with my girlfriend).

In the past year, I always ask myself: what is my research question? what is my unique method. Now, it seems clearer to me that I like Bayesian statistics and cognitive models, that’s the methods that I should polish in the future. As for the research question, I have the feeling that I want to study the non-WEIRD population, especially those in a disadvantaged situation, study their mental health, brain, and how to improve their well-being. Maybe, I should work with sociologist some day.

One important decision my girlfriend and I have made is that she will go back to China after graduate from her master program in the mid of 2019, and I will stay abroad for two or three more years and then go back too. It’s an important decision, but also a natural decision. My girlfriend is the only child of her family, she feels the imperative to go back and look after her parents. For me, going back would provide me with a good chance to study the non-WEIRD population, because many Chinese people still in poverty and they need to be known. However, I should learn more before I become independent.

Farewell, 2018.

Hello, 2019, go!


今天在组会上,导师在评论一位同门的proposal时指出,要提出很好的概念,才能影响他人,结束时提到“共产主义” 这个概念,让多少人牺牲。 听到这里时,我有一种不太好的感觉。诚然,纵观人类历史,凡提出一些非常极端概念的人,都吸引了大量的追随者,形成过巨大的影响,但是,这对于整个人类是好还是坏呢? 我看多数还是坏的,共产主义的名头之下造成了人类死亡的数目,应该超过了其他任何更实质性冲突的人数,因为许多人类的私利和欲望,通过这样华丽的概念,得以名正言顺地进行。







The wisdom of psychopath,这本书是因为看到〈科学美国人〉的推荐而购买,看完已经有一段时间了,本来早就应该写了点什么,但是一直拖着,直到现在。这本书的特点是非常具有个人特色。虽然作者本人并未进行精神变态方面的实证研究,但是却对这方面的文献有着非常广泛的了解,并且采访了众多这个领域的研究者,深入监狱与受到最严格监控的重罪犯面对面交谈、与英国最牛的特工一些去亲自体验实验(TMS实验)。虽然有一些观点不够严谨,也有着逆向推理的存在,还有一些观点算是作者大胆的设想,但是总体而言,如果不盲目相信的话,这是一个关于精神病态的很好的故事。

Who is in charge,认知神经科学大牛Gazzaniga最近的作品,电子版已经入手多时,但是直到最近才看完。这本书中Gazzaniga从自己最熟悉的大脑研究,尤其是裂脑人的研究出发,将自己interpreter理论提出来,然后跳到自由意志、社会脑、法律责任等等非常飘逸的话题上。不过这与他老人家晚年的关注点是非常一致的(他的上一本书叫the ethic brain)。我印象中比较有趣的部分在前半部分,这里既有一些非常重要的神经科学的基础知识,也有Gazzaniga最近关于大脑功能的看法:即大脑功能作为一种复杂系统,是涌现的结果(这个观点他老人家最近在trends in cognitive science 和 Annual Review ofpsychology上都发表了相关的综述)。关于自由意志的一章,讲得比较生涩,我看得也比较生疏,所以没有什么印象。最后讨论到了神经科学对法律责任的影响这些虽然是很有意思的话题,可惜书中的观点并没有超出已有论文中讨论的范围。

The righteous mind,道德心理学的绝对领军人物Haidt的新书,精装版,看了一小半了,但是太沉了,没带回来看。这本书主要是Haidt本人的理论(嗯,是理论)的系统化。这本书于我而言,主要在于了解一些学术论文以外的细节。比如我一直以为Haidt 在U penn的导师是Rozin,因为Haidt本人做了很多关于厌恶的研究,而实际上他的导师是做决策的Baron。原来提出社会关系理论的Alan Page Fiske 是Shweder的学生,而Haidt在研究生期间就深受他们的影响。博士毕业后,Haidt还去Shweder那里做过一段时间的研究。还有,Haidt进入U penn心理学系的时候,我才刚出生啊!

如果将这些书和我先前看过的<think, fast and slow>, < the good angel of humannature> 〈笛卡尔的错误〉等一起考虑,就会发现,在这些书里面,似乎有一些非常相似的东西。例如Joshua Greene于2001年的经典研究在上面提到的三本书中都会提及,并且篇幅还不小,而Haidt本人的研究,也出现了其他人的著作里面。这些内容让我想到了两个问题

1 情绪/先天/本能/自动加工 vs. 理性/后天/环境/控制加工




在Gazzaniga的书中,他处于一种比较中立的立场,强调了社会互动的影响,也严格地指出了动物脑和人脑的区别,但是这种中立的立场反而让人看不到他到底想表达什么,即who is in charge?先天的还是后天的?情绪还是认知?他老人家可能只想说,这是一种非常复杂的涌现的特点。那么如何涌现,心理学家可能会暂时束手无策了,因为心理学似乎把方法仅仅当成必要的恶,对方法的训练不足,更少关注物理学或者其他学科的方法问题。


2 理论 vs. 数据
“All models are wrong, but some are useful”——George Box
“All models are right, but most are useless”——Thad Tarpey

当我正为在不同的书中看到对同样一批数据结果的引用而感到有点触动时,碰到了Haidt在书中提到的这句话:“Theories are cheap in psychology,…..”。在我的脑中,这句话简直就可以翻译为:发在XXX上的那些综述,其实都是没有实质性价值的(其实还是有一点价值,即为研究生毕业和评奖学金加分)。Greene的那个研究,成为了Science上神经成像研究引用排名前10的文章之一,并且一直非常稳定。这个研究被引用来说明不同的问题,说明了好的实验和好的数据是非常重要的。


但是回到是否有用这一点上,大部分心理学理论可以归于“All models are right, but most are useless”这一类。几乎每篇实证的论文,都会力图讲一完整的故事,支持或者否定某个假设,而这个假设通过又是某个理论推导出来的。但是问题在于,大部分论文可能永远停留在理论上,永远作为一个正确却无用的理论。









想到这里的时候,我不禁有点担忧:男怕入错行!难道我选择的是一个most useless且没有雄心的行业?(更进一步,想到宋飞传里说过的:男性挑选女朋友时不会在意女性的职业,但女性挑选男朋友的时候却非常在意男性的职业。难道选择心理学把我的爱情事业全部都搭进去了?不过这纯属题外话)















Damasio大神的Descartes’ error一书(中文电子版英文电子版)。本科的时候,普通心理学和生理心理学课上,我们都嘲笑过笛卡尔将人的心理视为独立实体的观点,但是从来不知道现代的生物学/医学和心理学之间的分歧,实际上是这种二元论一个较弱的版本。我们仍然假设大脑是心理之外的东西,仍然不能接受我们很神圣的情感其实本质上是生物化学的作用。




)。这件事情当然不能算是头一次,因为之前已经有印度法院采纳EEG测谎证据作为判案主要依据,意大利法庭也采用过基因证据减刑(via Never)。从科学的角度来讲,意大利法院确实不靠谱,你怎么能拿一个没有得到科学界公认有效的科学结果作为证据呢??!!






v. Iowa